We said our goodbyes to the boat, Rio Dulce and the people of Punta Caimanes. Our last few days were a flurry of last minute preparations and mixed emotions. We are excited for our return to civilization, but as our time in Caimanes grew shorter, our fondness for the project and our affection for the people grew clearer. We have been so fortunate to be a part of this community for the past months and we feel a real sense of satisfaction for the work we’ve done.
We briefly considered an impromptu, backpack adoption of our little Guatemalan neighbor (as pictured below). However, given the state of our expired Visas, we thought it better not to add human trafficking to our rap sheet. Time will tell if Abby, or Gracie, can live without the other.
In atypical Guatemalan style, the bathroom construction progressed more or less as planned. Thanks again for all those generous folks back home that helped out!
A huge rain (and subsequent flood) happened to correspond with the first day of construction; in fact, there is still standing water throughout the village. There was moment when it looked like the truck carrying the materials wouldn’t be able to reach our underwater school. But, the truck made it far enough for the kids to shuttle the materials down the flooded streets on canoes.
The children have been elated about the school’s new addition. They have been hanging around the school during the afternoon watching the new walls slowing ascend. The older boys have been a huge help hauling bricks, mixing concrete, and bending re-bar. They sometimes stay late into the afternoon, after the paid workers have left. There was also quite a buzz the day the toilets arrived. The shiny white bowls were quite an attraction. I do not know this for sure, but I think these will be the only porcelain toilets in town.
When the first new wall was complete, Abby and I painted a large mural on the side facing the classroom. Thanks mostly to Abby, it turned out quite nice. You can see some photos of the finished project, as well as the bathroom construction, by clicking HERE. The Spanish text you will see translates as follows:
“With education, we can reach the ends of the earth without leaving our desks.”
We also managed to sneak in one last art project during our final few days in Caimanes. We thought it was important to leave them with a real, authentic American tradition: scrapbooking. We printed a handful of photos of each student, and with some stickers, cardstock and markers, they created a photo book of our time together. No one in Caimanes owns a camera, let alone prints photos, so the kids were more than a little excited for this project.
So, we are writing this post from Antigua. We are taking a breath and enjoying the crisp air, flush toilets, sidewalks, wifi, electricity and connection that we have been missing. We are going to rest up for what should be a frenzy (in a very good way) of a weekend in Ohio reconnecting with friends/family and celebrating our friends’ marriage.
Photos have been updated on Flickr